Friday, November 6th, 2009

NARS Luxor Multiple

NARS Luxor Multiple ($37.00 for 0.50 oz.) is the newest Multiple to debut as part of NARS’ Holiday Collection. NARS describes it as, “[a]n iridescent pink to be used on eyes, cheeks, lips and body.”

Luxor is an icy pink that almost runs a little lilac on me because it is definite cool undertones. It has a slight iridescence that’s noticeable without being over the top; it’s about the right about of shimmer I’d expect from a product best used as a highlighter. It’s surprisingly pigmented and can definitely be layered for a more opaque look. It does blend easily once warmed against the skin.

I personally prefer to use Luxor in a way that might be considered a little unconventional. I like to pat a little on the areas I want to highlight just before I apply my moisturizer. Once I’ve done that, then I apply my facial moisturizer as usual (which I do apply with my hands and slather all over). I find that it gives the highlighted areas this very soft, refined highlight and lends a certain glow to my face overall (because some, of course, does get mixed up in the moisturizer). It’s an interesting effect, nonetheless. I was inspired to try it this way because of how I use MAC’s Strobe Cream. Luxor reminds me a bit of it, only amped up–like if you took the Cream part out of Strobe Cream and just left the Strobe!

You can also take a fluffy brush and lightly dab on Luxor onto lids to give eyes a more awake look, or you can lightly dust it on your lips before layering on a gloss for some extra sparkle. The more traditional use of this as a highlighter would be to dot it along the areas you’d want to highlight, blend with a stippling brush, and then set with loose/translucent powder. You can definitely do this with Luxor, so have at it — after all, it isn’t called The Multiple for nothing!

My only big issue with The Multiples, in general, is that they’re pretty pricey. I don’t actually feel like you get a ton of product for your money, because I think these can be used up quicker than you’d think. They can be very emollient, so you may end up wearing more than you necessarily need (if you use a brush to apply, it helps to mitigate any potential over-use). I don’t think they’re a rip-off, but they do feel a little overpriced.

My secondary issue is I do find I need to use a translucent powder to set these in place to prevent them from fading too much throughout the day (I then get about four to six hours of good wear before it starts to fade).  Since I’ve found a way to combat fading, it’s not a biggie, and I tend to set my makeup anyway, so it’s not adding an extra, otherwise unnecessary step either.

Bottom Line: I think Multiple fans will enjoy Luxor. I still haven’t found a Multiple that really turns my head as others have, but I am eagerly awaiting the day it happens!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve been looking for a cream-to-powder cool-toned highlighter, Luxor may be your new best friend.

Availability: NARS

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Friday, October 16th, 2009

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Collection
Hocus Focus Colourful Face Kit

MAC Magic, Mirth, & Mischief Review: Face Kits

I like that MAC tried something new – a face palette. I haven’t seen them put out a face palette in quite some time, and the tiered system of this compact is convenient. These palettes actually do have some heft to them, so they’re not ultra lightweight or anything. (I was very surprised at how heavy my bag was when I purchased the palettes in general–sure felt like I was walking out with a lot!) I think at the price range, these feel a little steep. It’s hard to tell just exactly how much product you’re getting of each and if it’s really a better deal than if you bought them separately.

Hocus Focus Colourful Face Kit ($38.00 U.S.)

  • Pretty Baby is a soft, powdery pink beauty powder. Beauty powders can be used as all-over powders, blushes, highlighters, etc. It’s really up to you on how you want to use it, and depending on your skin tone, what may be the best use for it. I remember when it launched with the Diana Ross collection and I’d use it everyday, but I couldn’t tell you what it did for my skin/face.
  • Sunsparked Pearl is a pearly peach highlighter. It’s one of my favorite MAC highlighters, because it has subtle shimmer and a great “glow” factor. I’ve always felt it worked particularly well on warm skin, but it’s also nice on cooler skin.
  • Peachykeen is a peachy-coral blush shade that is available all the time. It’s one of my favorite blushes (MAC has an excellent line of permanent blush shades).

Fab-racadabra Bronze Face Kit ($38.00 U.S.)

  • Golden is a golden-brown bronzing shade with subtle gold pearl shimmer.
  • Buffed & Polished is a glitzy gilded bronze with golden shimmer. It reads a little chunky shimmer to me, though, so it’s not my favorite to use on the face.
  • Sunbasque is a deep bronzy peach. Again, it’s an excellent blush and part of the permanent shade range.

I liked the Hocus Focus Colourful Face Kit best. I think it’s wearable for both warm and cool skin tones, and I think it works well to give you a brighter, glowier look without a fuss. The Fab-racadabra Bronze Face Kit is exactly that–a bronzing kit. Since I’d rather just opt for a single bronzer than a whole kit full, it’s not my thing. I think it may lean too orange for some as well.

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

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Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Chanel Holiday 2009 Collection
Les Tissages Lames de Chanel / Shimmering Tweed Highlighter

Chanel Shimmering Tweed Highlighter ($60.00 for 0.45 oz.) is the next level of limited edition, luxurious highlighters from Chanel’s Holiday Collection. If you’ve enjoyed Chanel’s Tweed Blushes, I can only imagine you’re particularly curious about this new item.

Chanel describes this highlighter as, “Holiday beauty furthers the fantasy with three delicately ‘woven’ shades of shimmering colour for cheeks and décolleté. Gold, bronze and copper tones cast a natural luminous glow on skin to highlight and heighten a festive effect. Unmistakably CHANEL: the powder’s imprinted surface, inspired by the iconic tweed.”

It’s a woven mix of metallic, paled down silver-gold (seriously, silver-gold), subtly shimmered fleshy-peach, and coppery-brown, while gold flecks permeate throughout the product. The entire effect is a shimmery golden-bronze color. For lighter skin tones, this can be worn as a light bronzer/blush, but for most, it’s just an excellent highlighter. It feels smooth, soft, and looks like holiday if it were a highlighter. It twinkles, shimmers, and glitters (but not in a disco ball way!).

Value wise, the price tag is steep no matter how you look at it. Even though you get a fair amount of product for your buck, it’s still more than a lot of us want to spend on a highlighter. In the end, it’s slightly pricier than Dior’s SkinShimmers, but not by much. This highlighter is $133.33/oz. whilst Dior’s is $122.86/oz. If you compare it against blush shades, Chanel comes in as less expensive than NARS ($156.25/oz.) and Smashbox ($184.62/oz.)–and significantly less expensive than even Chanel blushes ($300.00/oz).

Bottom line: I consider this a splurge item, but I wouldn’t wait too long, because it is limited edition, and it’s a product that’s easy to fall in love with. I still prefer my Dior SkinShimmers for everyday highlighting, because the shimmer is finer and subtler, but this is definitely going to be a go-to for special occasions! (Besides, Dior doesn’t have a SkinShimmer in quite this tone — Amber Diamond is a bit darker/more copper than golden as this is.)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 5/5

Recommendation: For a beautiful holiday highlighter, consider Chanel’s limited edition Tweed Highlighter.

Availability: Chanel in October/November 2009

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Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Guerlain Imperiale Holiday Collection / Meteorites

Guerlain Meteorites Perles Impériales ($53.00 for 1.2 oz.) is the latest limited edition shade of Guerlain’s famous Meteorites from their holiday collection, slated for release this October.

Perles Imperiales is a soft, icy cool-toned pink highlighter with silvery-pink shimmer. I’m not sure if it’s possible to use this as a blush, as it’s really quite sheer and soft on me, so I do think the best way to use these is as a highlighter/luminizer. The pearls themselves are a mix of medium pink, pale lilac, peach, and burnt peach. What separates Guerlain’s Meteorites from other highlighters is how subtle and fine the shimmer is. It’s just a very silky, smooth highlighter that works well on a variety of skin types. It doesn’t make you look like a disco ball, but it still gives you noticeable “glow.” This is something you can subtly apply all over the face or just strategically to highlight certain areas (e.g. cheeks), which I like.

Guerlain describes Perles Imperiales as, “Easy to apply and almost magical, these famous multiple-effect pearls are as luminous as imperial silk and come in three formats – mini, medium and maxi – in order to optimize their evening-out and corrective action. They are also reinvented in three new shades intended to create a fresh, sublime complexion. Mauve and white illuminators, with pink for freshness and gold for light, brighten and smooth the skin to a sleek satin perfection. The famous Météorites compact features an opulent pouch in shiny black fabric, decorated with light-infused silver and rhinestones.”

The packaging for this limited edition shade is gorgeous. It’s in the same traditional cardboard packaging as the rest of the Meteorites, but the outside is solid black with black rhinestones/sparkles all around the side and then a smattering of silver rhinestones/sparkles on the top. I love how this packaging looks, because I do find the Meteorites packaging, in general, to be a little cheap for Guerlain (since it’s out of cardboard), but they really classed it up with the sequin-like look of Perles Imperiales. I do prefer using a brush like the 165 or 187 by MAC with the Meteorites for best application.

I know some feel Meteorites are pricey, but you always have to look at the volume you get for your buck, too. This is one of the least expensive high-end highlighters, believe it or not! This is priced at just $44.17/oz. compared to my all-time favorite Dior Skin Shimmers, which are $122.86/oz. — nearly three times the price per ounce. I imagine one box of Meteorites will last you quite awhile. There is also something to be said about the design itself–beautiful, colored pearls of powder.

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you like subtle highlighters, fine shimmer, and luxe products, you might want to check out Guerlain’s Perles Imperiales when you can!

Availability: October 2009

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Monday, September 28th, 2009

MAC DSquared Collection
Bone Beige/Emphasize

MAC Cosmetics DSquared Collection: Sculpt & Shape Duos

MAC DSquared Collection is small launch in-stores today, the 28th. The collection includes two Sculpt & Shape Powder Duos — Bone Beige/Emphasize and Accentuate/Sculpt.

Sculpt & Shape Powder Duos

  • Bone Beige/Emphasize is a duo of a soft, lightly shimmered palest cream for highlighting and a reddish-toned light-medium brown for contouring. This is supposed to be most ideal for lighter skin tones (think NC/NW15).
  • Accentuate/Sculpt is a duo of a soft, pinky-peach shimmered highlighter and a neutral-cool medium matte brown for contouring. This is most ideal for light and medium skin tones.

Accentuate/Sculpt is my favorite duo, as I feel it’s very universal and can work for a wide variety of skin tones. Sculpt can be layered for deeper color or used lightly for softer color. I personally have all of MAC’s Sculpt & Shape powder line in full-size (they’re the size of blushes–but they can be purchased individually rather than as a duo at PRO), and I love them. They’re great for cheeks and the face, but they’re also outstanding on the eyes for a very natural, sculpted look.

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a non-bronzer contouring product, try MAC’s Sculpt & Shape line!

Availability: MAC Cosmetics

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Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Prescriptives’ Well Suited Collection is a nice launch easy, wearable shades in pre-made palettes (cool, neutral, and warm), along with the release of new longwearing liners. My favorite products from this launch are the new longwearing liners and the Well-Suited Finishing Powder. I also thought Posh Beige was a gorgeous shade from the LipColors.

Well-Suited Eye Color Compact ($40.00 U.S. / $48.00 CDN)

All three palettes had decent to good color pay off, but I did find shadows that had a more matte finish were a little less smooth and could skip a bit when swatched. These colors are designed to be wearable shades, and Prescriptives succeeded in this aspect. If you’re more of a bold color kind of person, these might not be up your alley. If you’re looking for something you can wear all week, you may find these are suitable for you!

  • Warm includes a soft, satin-y peach; a warm-toned medium brown with gold and green shimmer; a neutral-toned golden green-brown; a dark teal with aqua-blue shimmer; and a slightly warmed-up dark brown with a semi-matte/matte finish.
  • Neutral looks like a smoky eyes palette, actually. It includes a neutral-toned peach with light peach-gold shimmer; a neutral-tone reddish-brown with multicolored shimmer; a satiny, dark, chocolate brown; a medium silver with slight shimmer; and a matte black.
  • Cool consists of a peachy-pink with silvery shimmer; a cool-toned chocolate brown with slight shimmer; a grayish shade with brown undertones; a reddish-plum with golden shimmer; and a matte dark purple.

Face

  • Well-Suited Finishing Powder ($28.00) is a satiny, dusty pink with the collection’s theme as a raised pattern on the compact. It goes on as a pale, slightly warm pink (neutral or warm, but definitely not cool). It doesn’t have any shimmer, and it looks very natural and soft on skin.

Colorscope Lipcolor

  • Posh Honey is a semi-sheer warm-toned beige with golden sihmmer.
  • Posh Ginger is a brownish shade with a little bit of warm red with slight golden shimmer.
  • Posh Nude is a pinky-nue with a semi-sheer finish and low-level gold pearl.
  • Posh Pink is a semi-opaque raspberry pink with a glossy sheen.

Longwear Kohl Liner ($17.50 U.S. / $21.00 CDN)

  • Black Kohl is a medium flat black — not an ultra rich, ultra black-black, but a wearable, soft black.
  • Blush Kohl is a medium-dark blue with no shimmer or sheen.
  • Brown Kohl is a slightly war-toned chocolate brown.
  • Slate Kohl is a grayish-charcoal shade with a slight sheen.

Available: Nordstrom.com

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